The government has been looking on the best way to run its services efficiently, and one of the modes has been undertaking privatization of various sectors. The law enforcement has not been left out of privatization, and the prisons department is one major service that has been privatized. The number of prisons and prisoners has continued to increase the budget allocation in the services, causing a major drain to the tax payer. This has forced the government to turn to for profit organization to provide for prison services, and in some instances even hiring them to manage state owned prisons.
The argument in favor of prison privatization is mostly concerned with efficiency. When the government undertakes privatization of its operations, the major aim is usually to increase quality of service provision at the same cost or even at a lower cost. It is because of these claims that the government has continuously privatized prisons and their services. The argument is that private companies can even force public prisons to operate efficiently since inefficiency would amount to cutting funding to the department.
On the other hand, those opposed to privatization feel that there is no concrete evidence that privatization of prisons increases efficiency, since little studies have been carried out to ascertain these claims (Poulin & Charles 2004). In building more prisons, private firms are found to do their work faster than the state. However, the critics of privatization feel that this makes the government to prefer incarceration methods of dealing with crimes rather than having to deal with preventative measures. It is believed that the private firms try to cut costs in running their activities so that they can increase their profits.
One way is employing fewer guards, and this puts the safety of the guards, prisoners and the society at large in danger. On the other hand, private prisons are reported to have more cases of violence than in the state prisons. However, those who support privatization argue that the private firms construct their buildings in an innovative way, and carry out their operations in a more efficiency way that would ensure less costs in the long run while provide more safety (McFarland, McGowan & ‘Toole, 2002).
There is also the argument that the private prisons have derailed justice as they can extend the incarceration period of a prisoner so that they can make more profits, or they can even lobby for the prisoners to be given tougher sentences as this would imply making more profits from the longer sentence the prisoner would receive. Furthermore, since the private firms are paid according to the number of prisoners being held, and the number of days a prisoner stays in custody, the opponents feel that the private prisons might interfere with the parole hearing so that the prisoners can stay longer behind bars.
However these have also been assumptions since there is no substantial evidence which has indicated that actually these private firms have interfered with justice. Due to increased crimes, the public has always been in support of tougher sentences for prisoners. This has been a contributing factor that makes the private prisons to be on demand more since there is need to build more prisons to cater for the increased number of prisoners. Despite the efficiency in most of the aspects of operations of the private prisons, those opposed to it argue that it is morally wrong to make profit on others’ misfortunes.
Therefore, it depends on which perspective a person will argue on whether to privatize the prisons or not, but basing on efficiency and costs, the private prisons are better than the state owned prisons Reference: McFarland, S. , McGowan, C & ‘Toole, T (2002). Prisons, Privatization, And Public Values, retrieved on March 19, 2009 from http://government. cce. cornell. edu/doc/html/PrisonsPrivatization. htm. Poulin, K. C. & Charles P. Nemeth (2004). Private Security and Public Safety, A Community-Based Approach; ISBN 0131123742, Pearson Prentice Hall, .